It has become all to predictable.
The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League has suspended play in both of its Quebec-based divisions until at least Oct. 28 because of COVID-19.
The league will continue play with five of six teams in the Maritimes Division. The Moncton Wildcats will not play for now because of New Brunswick government restrictions in the area.
The league’s Members made the decision on Wednesday. The QMJHL plans to reassess the situation in two weeks.
“There’s nothing wrong with taking a step back to come back in a stronger position,” league commissioner Gilles Courteau said Wednesday.
There also would have been nothing wrong with not starting until the pandemic was actually over. But, of course, money was on the table and it simply couldn’t be left there.
The league says continuing play in Quebec became almost impossible with six of 12 teams located in red zones, where organized sport is prohibited.
The league, which opened its season on Oct. 2,has not been able to operate for a full two weeks without a shut down.
The QMJHL is the only one of three Canadian major-junior hockey leagues to have opened play this season. This now will certainly have some baring in how or if the OHL and WHL get to play.
The Western Hockey League announced Wednesday that its season will start Jan. 8, while the Ontario Hockey League has said it hopes to start in December.
Ontario sport minister Lisa MacLeod said last week that contact and body checking would make it difficult for the provincial government to approve play in the OHL.
The WHL said its teams will only face opposition from their own division, meaning its five U.S. based teams will only play each other. The OHL has three U.S. based teams, making it nearly impossible for them to play among themselves for a season.
Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser